Off the Shelf: Review of The Fall (The Strain Book 2)

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In a previous post I may have mentioned being pretty excited for the adaptation of The Strain from book to TV. Did I watch it? No… But I did read the sequel! That’s gotta count for something…

When we left off with this story, The Master (no not fruit punch mouth from season one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) had just survived a vampire extermination attempt from a small band of people who were capable of knowing the Apocalypse when they saw it. Our heroes have failed, the world is being ripped from our greedy little human hands, Ephraim’s ex-wife is now a blood sucking parasite host, and Satrakian continues to be incredibly old.

No seriously, how old is this guy? He survived the Holocaust, so if we guess he was 20 at that time, that would make him 90 years old, give or take a few based on the year of the book’s setting. A 90-year-old fighting to save humanity? No wonder the first attempt didn’t go so well… The Fall really is into making heroes out of the unexpected, adding an aging wrestler with a bum leg to the vermin exterminator, and I’m really starting to doubt the hope I’ve had that humanity makes it out ok. I mean, maybe if Setrakian had a light saber I could believe the slicing and dicing he’s doing, but how has this guy not added a broken hip to his bum ticker?

In addition to the lack of believability in what all these characters are capable of doing, there is a lot working against the book when you break it down. As we move away from a smaller story about a man and how he is forced to come to terms with the truth about vampirism, the scope of the book grows to the entirety of New York, and at some points the world. There are still subplots as the characters go about their solo missions within the main arc of the pandemic, but in comparison to the first book it feels like a lot less happens. Not only that, but it’s not easy to understand exactly what is happening, or rather, the world’s understanding of what is going on. At times it seems like everyone is finally in agreement that “looting” and “social unrest” is a huge understatement for what is going on, yet then next thing you know there is an auction being held to sell a book. Seriously? The majority of the population is being whipped around by tongues capable of draining them dry and you’re just going to go about your regularly scheduled broadcast? No, this is breaking news stuff!

If I were to guess, I’d say The Fall can be considered a stepping stone between book one and book three as the rest of the world catches up on what we’ve known since before we started reading book two. It loses a lot of the creepiness of The Strain as the scope widens out, yet even after all of my complaints I find myself still drawn to the story. The characters might not be completely believable, but I’m still interested in what happens to them and how they attempt to fight the good fight. Will they succeed? If this was the real world then heck no, but that’s not going to stop me from finding out just how they plan to survive this all in the series conclusion.

Final Grade: 3.5 out of 5      Follow @BewareOfTrees

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